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landscape architecture

Exclusive Tents: working with nature to create one-off luxury experiences

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Exclusive Tents: working with nature to create one-off luxury experiences

To conclude a three-part editorial series, Hotel Designs understands Exclusive Tents’ unique relationship with nature when its comes to designing luxury tented accomodation …

Exclusive Tents International could easily be considered the perfect evolution for Paul Zway’s philosophy, following his long experience as a Kruger Park ranger.

Indeed, the African heritage of these luxury products is reflected in their names with most of the tents named after the legendary elephants of Africa, mainly past and some still present. Zway’s vision is to apply Exclusive Tents’ experience, skills and enthusiasm to the accomplishment of his clients’ dreams.

Landscape showing tents and mountains

Image credit: Exclusive Tents

The appeal of a stronger, more fundamental link with nature is often a factor shared with their clients. It is a joy for Zway and his team when clients invest wholeheartedly in the adventure and go the extra mile to work with all that nature can offer. The most rewarding projects seek to integrate their natural assets as much as possible with their living spaces, even going so far as to reintroduce indigenous wildlife and replant species that have been driven out or endangered by human activity.

Alternative forms of accommodation are gaining popularity around the World, and Glamping is foremost amongst them. For those not familiar with African luxury safaris, the versatility and potential of these large, beautiful, ruggedly elegant, traditional real canvas tents requires reevaluating most, if not all, of the core elements of a project that might otherwise be taken for granted. It is a refreshing and eye-opening process that can and should encompass all aspects of a project.

Deciding to use tents rather than main-stream construction solutions can prove to be beneficial and advantageous for a number of key reasons – both aesthetic and financial. If you are reading this article there is a good chance that you are already intrigued by the possibilities that luxury tents might offer. Of course, the romance of a closer link with nature, the exhilaration of creating something exotic, seductive and sexy is foremost in the mind. Yet other key factors are equally important.

Image credit: Exclusive Tents

Development time and costs can both be significantly reduced. The tents can be in production whilst the project site is being prepared, with tent installation time being very quick – normally a few days for accommodation lodges, and a couple of weeks for the largest of the main tents. All Exclusive Tents’ products are made to client’s order such that each tent is configured with the desired materials, colours, door and window placements, etc., that best serve the project. Whilst this means that they are bespoke products, all fabrication is exclusively in-house with typical dispatch for delivery in only eight-10 weeks.

On-site preparation can also become most efficient. Exclusive Tents recommend installing the tents on raised decks – most often timber, but sometimes masonry depending upon the environment. The advantage of raised timber decks is that they can be quickly installed with little or no ground works, gliding above the natural topography, providing raised views, an elegant presence, and minimal impact upon the site.

“Exclusive Tents will never be the cheapest source of tents, but their mission is to offer the best “value-for-money”.” – Paul Zway, Founder, Exclusive Tents.

Price is important, and good quality genuine luxury tents are not cheap per se, but remain significantly less expensive than hard-construction of a comparable quality. It should go without saying that the sourcing of the tents is fundamental to success: they should be of the highest quality, providing not only beauty but also technical performance, longevity and practicality. Exclusive Tents will never be the cheapest source of tents, but their mission is to offer the best “value-for-money”: High quality, robust, durable, beautiful traditional real canvas luxury tents at a fair price. It is often worth remembering the saying: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” or, as once reminded, “The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot, it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run and if you do that, you will then have enough to pay for something better”.

For any commercial venture the cornerstone is ROI (Return on Investment): Successful resorts offer a quality experience & service at an attractive ROI. Luxury tent resorts embody this principal with the advantage of a quicker and potentially better ROI. Of course, any resort project depends on much more than just choosing what type of guest accommodation to offer or how to embody the resort facilities. However, reduced development costs, reduced construction time, low maintenance costs, and (almost always) higher room rates than for their main stream or hard-construction equivalent are strong arguments in favour of opting for a luxury tent resort.

Tent on terrace in rural area

Image credit: Exclusive Tents

…And, that’s before remembering the exquisite charm of creating a project where magnificent vistas and a unique experience are enjoyed from the nature-infused deck of a beautifully made and furnished luxury tent! Even in trickier climates, the whole experience of staying in a luxury tent, relaxing on a beautiful terrace and enjoying the surroundings is invigorating.

Glamping has evolved a lot in the short time since the name was coined. Exclusive Tents are at the forefront of this wave, constantly innovating, improving, and showing the way forward in all variety of environments, climates, and conditions.

For example, all the tent designs are now available with a new frame wall system for harsh climates or where increased thermal and/or acoustic insulation are desired. The system gives a new clean aesthetic to the tents and incorporates a minimum of 50mm thermal / acoustic insulation without external or internal wood poles, steel legs, or outriggers, although these can be integrated into the design if desired. Furthermore, the tents can be enhanced with increased insulation and fully integral (hidden) hard-walls.

As the glamping movement evolves, Exclusive Tents are also providing an ever-larger range of delightful tent designs, with the Mabarule and Dida tents having recently been unveiled. The Mabarule is a subtle blend between the traditional safari tent with the more modern designs. At its heart is an opening in the roof, a pivotal focal point between the internal volumes and the spacious covered veranda. Light cascades through the opening in the roof, reinforcing the connection with the outside, and lends itself to creating a water or plant ‘art-scape’ coming up through the deck.

Exclusive tents is as much an adventure as a business, being pursued passionately by Zway, his wife and business partner Angelika, and Johan Maree. Their tight knit team includes their children and colleagues spread across the globe. For the team, the biggest reward to emerge from the adventure is the bonds they have forged with amazing clients and talented professionals who have become close friends.

Every project, no matter how big or small, is driven by the passion and desire of its owner. Luxury tents and glamping appeal to those of us willing to look beyond the established order of things and welcome a challenge. Some of the most exciting projects come to Exclusive Tents as an essentially blank canvas (pun intended!) where the painting of the dream and vision commence.

Many new clients will, quite logically, start with little knowledge about tents (especially large, genuine canvas tents – as opposed to stretch fabric tents and canopies), and may be unaware of the versatility that they embody. For example, some of the key considerations for a luxury tent project:

  • The guiding vision for the project.
  • Location: Desert, tropical, savanna, forest, open countryside, hilly, mountainous, coastline, semi-urban or even urban, and so on.
  • Topography and geology.
  • Climatic conditions, proximity to the ocean, and how to best harness the local meteorology.
  • What are the requirements for the project accommodation and facilities, and how can tents satisfy them?
  • Design features, desired internal and external spaces.
  • Materials, finishes, performance.
  • What is possible? What isn’t?
  • What is recommended, and what should best be avoided?
  • Tent model selection, configuration, or bespoke custom design.
  • How to integrate resort design and tent design?
  • Adapting interior design to suit luxury tents.
  • Common area tents and staff accommodations – pros and cons.
  • Density of development.
  • Soft or hard openings
  • Off-grid solutions, rain water collection, etc.

Exclusive Tents is a close knit two-family run business that believes passionately in what they do: They will enthusiastically inform and guide clients and their consultants. Importantly, they also offer expertise and alternative solutions working hand-in-hand with equally passionate and diligent partners: The clients and friends mentioned earlier, such as Valentin of four Rivers Floating Lodge and Emanuela of Sandat and Canonici di San Marco, and consummate professionals including the uniquely talented architect Patrice Belle who creates wonderful designs and succinct solutions, for example Telal Resort in the UAE, and has a complete understanding of luxury tents within the wider context of project design.

As a team, they will not systematically propose tents for all and every situation. Instead, their philosophy is to advise their client and provide to the project exciting, beautiful solutions in the context of short, medium and long-term project objectives.

While we are all looking forward to a bright, natural and healthy future, Zway welcomes you to share Exclusive Tents’ vision, mission and passion!

Exclusive Tents International is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here

Main image credit: Exclusive Tents

SPOTLIGHT ON: The role of landscape architecture in ‘glamping’ resorts

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
SPOTLIGHT ON: The role of landscape architecture in ‘glamping’ resorts

A Glamping resort is usually sited within a picturesque location whether forest, beach, lake, mountain, botanical or even an urban rooftop with a primary focus of ‘back to nature’ experience. Bushtec Safari Asia explores landscape architecture…

As a designer we have come across seven main landscape typologies (however there are probably more or even subsets):

  • Traditional Resort compound with highly ornamental plantings, flexible lawns spaces, sculptures with drop-off, restaurant and lobby
  • Natural Aesthetic to blend with or be part of the natural surrounds
  • Animal reserves and Zoological parks providing the time past safari experience
  • Themed Landscapes – most recently we have been developing a pet focused tented resort with agility course, dog pool, sand hill and even a cat climbing gym
  • Botanical which typically focusses on organic farming practices, wellness lifestyle choices and communal gatherings
  • Urban settings such as on rooftops with spectacular views
  • Pop-up Glamping which responds to short term events and festivals where tents are stored and reused year on year.

Image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

There is as much skill, if not more, to touch the ground lightly and create a landscape aesthetic which looks part of natural surrounds however even more important, landscape architecture critically allows the tents to sinuously bring the outdoors indoors through 4 of the senses

  • sight-siting of tents to maximise vista’s and even lighting for nighttime effects,
  • touch-directing natural breezes through the tents,
  • smell-carefully selection of aromatic scents of flora and
  • sound-bird attracting plants, flowing water elements and selecting rustling trees.

Image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

To enable a greater understanding of the role of landscape in glamping resorts a case study has been selected – Tiarasa Escape.

The site is located in Janda Baik, Mukim Bentong. Janda Baik (incidentally means good widow) is a small village about 50 km from Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia.

The site included existing fruit trees (durian, rambutan, jackfruit and mangosteen), fish farm and located adjacent to a small river, Sungai Nerong and surrounded by vegetable gardens owned by the local villagers.

Image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

Our approach is to take advantage of its special qualities, not imposing on the setting but enhancing and directing attention to the features of the landscape. The path, tents & buildings are sculptured fit into the site with minimum disturbance and embrace the rocks and slopes and trees, not see them as obstacles. The beauty and integrity of the landscape and its special qualities shine through each tent location. We have created the design for Glamping and treehouse within as an integrated construction process, adjusting pathway design as we discovered each rock and preserve the beauty of the natural site.

Creating places

As more travelers explore the world so does the expectation to create unique local experience. Our approach to any site is to take advantage of its natural qualities, not imposing on the setting but enhancing and directing attention to the landscape features. The buildings fit into the site with minimum disturbance and embrace the rocks, slopes and trees, not see them as obstacles. The beauty and integrity of the land and its special qualities shine through each concept. Tiarasa Escape resort is intended to “touch the earth” lightly, “teach the stories of the forest” and “discover the life withing a traditional kampung setting” all within a modern luxury escape.

Integrated within the site

Each of our glamping resorts has a design vision.  We take the basic elements we know make resorts work and mix them with unique elements as well as specific client requests to create one overall feeling through the landscape and outdoor spaces. The landscape is designed at multiple scales so a guest will get a certain feeling upon arrival and continue discovering special features throughout their stay. Private spaces and large scale gathering areas both envelop the guest in the landscape which surrounds.

Immerse in nature

We subscribe to the belief that plants make the space. Our planting design is based on extensive understanding of the local environments and the desire to enhance native communities while inviting human inhabitation and enjoyment. Native fruit trees, productive planting and a focus on endangered species create places and enhance the environmental significance.

The planting design at Tiarasa Escapes glamping, pictured here, is based on the concept of the ‘Rainforest Orchard.’ Previously a kampung orchard, the site has mature Durian, Longan and Mangosteen trees which were all protected during construction. Further planting of native rainforest fruiting trees supports the enjoyment of the guests as well as ecological benefits for the other floral and fauna communities.

Landscape is a sensory element and critical to a glamping resort’s design aesthetic. It is about curating a holistic outdoor experience and landscape must always have a purpose. It’s more than just eye candy. It’s important that it looks beautiful but it must also convey a story, an underlining purpose and make a great contribution to physical environments by emphasising the protection of natural character and cultural identity.

Bushtec Creations is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Bushtec Safari Asia

7 outdoor products that are changing the hotel design landscape

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
7 outdoor products that are changing the hotel design landscape

To mark Hotel Designs’ focus on Outdoor Style, the editorial team have identified outdoor products that are vastly changing the landscape of hotel design…

There’s no doubt about it, the way in which guests consume their hotel experience is changing, and quickly. With this drastic in the demands of modern travellers, which is largely being led by the evolution of social media and technology, hotels are striving to create statement areas many of the public areas.

One way in which to do this is to create arresting outdoor spaces. Whether its bringing the indoors outdoors, shading a statement infinity pool or creating mini escapes in the landscape, it seems as if anything is possible in landscape architecture and style – and here are just some of the products that are leading the way in outdoor style.

1) Tuuci Equinox Cabana

Cabana at the end of an outdoor swimming pool

Image credit: Tuuci

TUUCI Equinox Cabana structures effortlessly transform any patio, poolside or outdoor landscape into open-air living rooms. The structure’s sleek modular design is built to custom specifications; shape, size, finish, walls, seating and lighting options. The outdoors never felt more luxurious.

Its lighting option for the TUUCI Equinox Cabana is marine-grade, LED, and features two lights per beam. Suitable for hotel demands, the TUUCI Equinox Cabana has a number of added features available, including a power outlet option to plug in electronic devices or charge by USB.

 

2) ÖÖD House – Round Wood of Mayfield 

Reflective structure in the middle of greenland

Image credit: ÖÖD House – Round Wood of Mayfield

The ÖÖD house – a stunning, 18 sq/m mini home clad in mirrored glass which blends to its natural surroundings – has been added to Round Wood of Mayfield’s collection of high end outdoor structures.

Originally envisaged as a “pop up” hotel guest room or Airbnb pad by Estonian company ÖÖD, it is now exclusively distributed and assembled by the timber and landscape specialists across the UK.

The stand-alone living space for both commercial and domestic clients, which also make ideal office spaces, guest accommodation or even yoga studios, blends beautifully into any setting courtesy of the striking insulated glazing that covers the front and sides.

Round Wood of Mayfield is one of Hotel Designs’ Recommended Suppliers. 

3) Gina Collection, JANUS et Cie 

Sleek designed outdoor furniture on patio

Image credit: JANUS et CIe

Created exclusively for JANUS et Cie by the renowned Italian design icon Piero Lissoni, the Gina collection is characterised by sensuous contours and sleek lines, precisely executed in harmonious proportion. The collection’s  Gina Recamier recently received the 2019 Red Dot Award for outstanding design and is just one example of many on the furniture market that is allowing designers to bring the interior, cosy feel in outdoor spaces.

4) Glammfire fireplaces

Red seating around low fire

Image credit: Glammfire

From the pleasure of any outdoor space, the Circus brings comfort through its fiery warmth and convenient seats; which can be conveniently stored around the central unit and can easily endure outdoor conditions. Ideal for small-size hotels, the products allows guests to hang out as if they were with friends and family around a cosy fire.

5) Pedrali Soul Outdoor

Image credit: Pedrali

Soul Outdoor is a new, special evolution of the original version made in bent wood and launched by Eugeni Quitllet last year. The inspiration is the same that the Catalan designer defines as “a link between the concrete and the abstract, between the real world and that of dreams, between past and future… the unspoiled state of creation”. An armchair able to express an idea of uncontaminated and pure creativity, defined by its soul.

A curved aluminium tubular frame, with classical shapes but solid proportions, clasps an ergonomic seat in shaped teak slats, almost like an embrace. The contrast between the two outdoor materials and the aesthetic result of the aluminium shininess make this armchair innovative and original. The lines of Soul Outdoor are accentuated by the fluidity of aluminium, which ensures strength and lightness, while presenting a strong visual impact.

6) Outdoor Poufs, Tribù

Modern and contemporary outdoor scene

Image credit: TRIBÙ

TRIBÙ’s eye for detail is evident from the accessories this luxury brand has designed to make your terrace extra cosy. This year irresistible poufs steal the show. They are available in luxurious textured outdoor fabrics, but also in outdoor leather. Thanks to the three dimensions with different heights you can make some beautiful combinations. Ideal as an extra seat or side table. Thanks to the special filling you can leave them easily outside, even if it rains.

7) Case Study: Soho House White City

Jungle-like interiors on terrace

Image credit: Soho House White City House/Modern Garden Company

Set in the former BBC headquarters, Soho House White City House is the newest and largest members club and hotel in London. Modern Garden Company were specified to create a striking outdoor area. Distinguished by its sleek modern design, Cubola is an elegant shade with a slender frame and tilting fabric roof that offers protection against low evening sun, as well as allowing rainfall to run off.

The frame is made from high grade aluminium, joined with specially developed internal corners which guarantee perfect stability, they also ensure that nuts and bolts are hidden from view. The aluminium frames are powder coated producing a very durable finish, available in two standard colour coatings, white and anthracite, although almost any RAL colour can be chosen as part of a special production.

Safety features for the Cubola include a wind sensor, which will retract the Cubola if the pre-set wind speed is exceeded, other options available include rain and sun sensors.It can be installed both freestanding or attached to building walls, and is available with sides to create partially enclosed sides/outdoor rooms.

Main image credit: Round Wood of Mayfield

modern garden from Robert Barker

Vaughan lit up Chelsea Flower Show 2018

800 492 Hamish Kilburn

Design and manufacturer Vaughan was given the unique opportunity to show its outdoor lighting collection at Chelsea Flower Show 2018 by sponsoring garden designer, Robert Barker.

Barker is a modernist garden designer whose design process is about bringing together his passion for plants, people, nature, sculpture, his love for modern architecture and his understanding of how a design can work in harmony with its environment to create a timeless landscape.

At Chelsea Flower Show, the designer exhibited a beautiful garden scheme, called ‘Skin Deep’, which incorporated textured contemporary sculptural elements with beautiful planting for, which Barker was awarded a Silver Gilt medal.

Head over to the Vaughan website for more information on their complete outdoor lighting collection.

Vaughan are one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.